The Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has taken a decision to aggressively venture into the tourism industry. The Union recently bought a P16 million worth of stake in the Stoffberg consortium. BOPEU president, Andrew Motsamai said the investment is intended solely for members as they will in the process be allowed to buy individual shares from the 30 percent stake of the Union.
“We want our members to realise the benefits of being part of this union, as this has been our approach for many years. As BOPEU grows, the Board has realised that it is important to use it as a vehicle to empower Batswana. We want to position the union and its investment arms such that they can help Batswana to play a meaningful role in engine sectors like tourism,” observed Motsamai.
BOPEU has entered into a deal with owners of a company that is also party owned by the Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA). CEDA owns 20 percent of the Stoffberg Company which operates Kadizora lodge in the north western part of the country, Elephant Valley Lodge in Kasane, and owns chunks of land across the area. The MacFarlane family owns the other 20 percent in the company that controls and owns 100 000 hectares of land.
Motsamai indicated that they want to help grow the portfolio of the company by helping come up with ideas that can make use of the company’s assets to provoke citizen participation in the tourism sector. “We have big ambitions for this project including private listing that will see BOPEU members purchase shares in the company,” he stressed.
“The Board has taken a decision to participate in the tourism industry because there are very few Batswana who own meaningfully in this sector. As we read and analyse the country’s economy it is clear that by 2025 tourism sector would have surpassed mining as number generator of income in the country, so we want to take advantage and position Batswana and ensure that they control the economy then,” he said.
Motsamai explained that although the union side is clearly against privatisation as a policy of government, they cannot set their members for failure by not grabbing opportunities in the private businesses as they avail themselves. He said unions must position themselves such that they can warehouse shares for their members. He further illustrated that BOPEU intends to embark on a roadshow aimed at encouraging members to purchase shares in ventures such as the Kadizora and others that the union has acquired shares in. He said they will make the share prices very reasonable for their members.
According to Motsamai, BOPEU has purchased close to 2 million shares in the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) and they are going to sell the shares back to their members using the original price of the shares. He said whenever government privatises any entity they will work hard to claim something from the sale of shares because they want the union members to access those at reasonable pricing.
The BOPEU President indicated that very soon the stand point of Batswana owning and operating small lodges will come to an end because vehicles in the mould of BOPEU will help pave the way for citizens to actively participate in high income generating businesses in the tourism sector. He said at the moment Batswana operate small lodges that earn a small fraction of tourism earnings. “We consciously decided to engage Cresta Hotels, because of their expertise in this business to manage some of the businesses that we have stake in this industry,” explained Motsamai.
Gabane-Mmankgodi Member of Parliament Kagiso Mmusi, who is also the Minister of Justice looks set to retain his place as ruling party, Botswana democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary candidate for the constituency after his team triumphed at the party’s branch congress held recently.
Mmusi’s team, as expected sailed through by claiming all executive positions of chairperson, secretary, treasurer, vice chairman, and vice treasurer.
Despite reports doing rounds that Mmusi’s team was defeated, the victorious chairperson of the Women Wing branch, Pinkie Mmusi confirmed that they stand with the area Member of Parliament.
For the position of branch chairperson, Baby Chalengwa defeated Tshepo Thobega with 51 votes to 44 votes. On the other hand the branch chairperson, Chalegwa also confirmed their solidarity with the area Member of Parliament.
The anti-Mmusi’s camp has been working hard to prepare for his dethronement in the run-up to the 2024 general election, but it appears the Minister of Justice is holding his ground and will be a tough opponent to dispose at the party primary elections.
Since Minister Mmusi’s name is regularly linked with the Vice Presidency for the future, some within the party use this against him to label him as a power hungry politician. However, Mmusi’s supporters have pointed out that the MP has never spoken on the subject and is only focused on delivering as a legislator and Minister.
Slumber Tsogwane, the chairman of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), has effectively ursurped Mpho Balopi’s functions of secretary general. He has also taken over the preparations for the party’s national congress, which is scheduled to be held in August.
The role of the secretary general is to oversee the activities of the party, and according to its constitution, he or she is the accounting officer. Throughout his career, Balopi has been the link between the various structures of the party, including the central committee and sub committees. However, since he has been replaced by Tsogwane, Balopi has become an onlooker.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.